Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Workplace Wasters - Brits revealed to be more environmentally aware at home than in the workplace

Workplace Wasters - Brits revealed to be more environmentally aware at home than in the workplace

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 19 November 2009

Brits are happy to recycle and follow green practises at home but leave their environmental conscience at the door when they arrive for work.

That’s the conclusion of a new survey by Tickbox.net/Opinion Matters out today which highlights how attitudes towards recycling and energy saving differ between the home and the workplace.

For instance, just over 40% of people said they recycled plastics at home but not at work, with women being the worst culprits. Similarly, other poor workplace practises include unnecessarily printing out emails (21%) and putting recyclable items into the non-recycling bin (21%).

The impact isn’t simply on the environment though. Defra figures indicate that UK businesses could save £6.4 billion each year by implementing resource efficiency measures that are of no or very low cost.

Simple steps such as turning down thermostats, turning off lights and addressing dripping taps can help Britain’s businesses to save money and be more environmentally friendly. Furthermore, in today’s increasingly environmentally aware society, these steps can have a positive knock on effect on corporate reputation and the way customers value a business.

Defra launched a campaign this month to urge small businesses to cut down on waste, and reduce energy and water use, in order to reap the financial benefits. The campaign, which stresses 'Saving money – it’s your business', illustrates how simple environmental actions translate into cost savings. This is being supplemented with clear practical advice for businesses on how to integrate resource efficient practices into everyday working life. Business owners can visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/savingmoney for more information, help and tips.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said:

"Small firms are facing challenging times, today more so than ever. Finding ways to save money will help businesses retain a competitive edge. Being sustainable is now essential – for your bottom line and for the environment.

"Simple steps like using less energy or considering what you throw away are easy ways to make savings. Resource efficiency is the future for all businesses, large and small."

'Channel 4's 'Dumped' guru and eco-design expert Rob Holdway is lending his support to the campaign.

He says:

"Whether it’s turning off lights, turning down thermostats, cutting down on rubbish, or addressing dripping taps – small sized catering and hospitality firms are ‘leaking’ money through bad use of their energy, water supplies or waste products.

"Simple steps such as turning off office equipment when it’s not in use, can help businesses become financially fit and environmentally friendly. This also has a positive knock-on effect on corporate reputation among consumers. Resource efficiency isn’t rocket science but it does require a shift in culture among the catering and hospitality trade, which I really want to encourage."

For more information visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/savingmoney or contact Mira Ryness on 0207 261 8942 or email mira.ryness@coi.gsi.gov.uk

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The research for COI was carried out online by Tickbox.net/Opinion Matters between 29/10/2009 and 03/11/2009 amongst a nationally representative sample of 832 UK adults aged 16+.

Tickbox.net adheres to and follows the codes of the MRS (Market Research Society) and are fully registered and compliant with the Data Protection Registrar.

BACKGROUND AND REGIONAL INFORMATION
National 22% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
21% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
13% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
33% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
18.4% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

East
25% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
21% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
11% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
40% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
17% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

London 26% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
34% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
17% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
36% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
15% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

Midlands 16% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
18% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
10% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
25% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
13% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

North East
19% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
26% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
10% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
32% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
23% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

North West 25% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
23% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
14% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
32% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
26% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

Northern Ireland n/a - put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
29% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
14% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
14% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
29% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

Scotland 28% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
16% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
12% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
43% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
18% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

South East 18% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
21% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
14% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
33% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
23% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

South West 18% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
19% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
15% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
30% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
18% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

Wales 24% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
12% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
12% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
35% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
12% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

Yorkshire
21% put recyclable items into a non-recycle bin on a regular basis
9% print out emails when it is not entirely necessary on a regular basis
9% leave work without switching their computer off properly on a regular basis
30% turn off electrical goods at the end of the day when they are at home but don’t at work
18% don’t know what their organisation’s policy is or if they undertake any specific measures to be resource efficient

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